PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) will launch a month-long community dialogue promoting literacy, reading and community engagement with an event October 3 at the August Wilson Center. “One College, One Community” is an innovative partnership among CCAC and local school districts, libraries, correctional facilities and other organizations.
The initiative focuses on Ernest Gaines’ novel A Lesson Before Dying. A study of the relationship between a teacher and an unjustly convicted African American man awaiting execution, the novel explores themes of race, justice and reconciliation.
The kickoff event at 5:00 p.m. October 3 at the August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Ave., Downtown) is free and open to the public; an RSVP is required to 412.469.6301 or OneCollege@ccac.edu. It will include a dance performance choreographed by Kevin Maloney, CCAC professor of dance, and performed by the August Wilson Dance Ensemble. Herman Beavers, PhD, professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and an Ernest Gaines scholar, will provide the keynote address. Food and music will highlight the tastes and sounds of the novel’s Louisiana setting. The event will also launch the educational partnership between CCAC and the August Wilson Center.
Throughout October, 10th-grade students in several Allegheny County high schools and English and criminal justice students at CCAC will be studying the book. High-school students will also participate in a student-made documentary and essay, reading and art contests. Libraries will host book discussions and screenings of a film based on the novel. CCAC faculty and administrators will also facilitate book discussions among inmates at the State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh and Shuman Detention Center.
Besides CCAC and the August Wilson Center, the “One College, One Community” partnership includes Pittsburgh Public Schools, Steel Valley High School, Andrew Street High School, Communities in Schools, Imani Christian Academy, Pleasant Hills Library, Carnegie Library of Homestead, Monroeville Public Library, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, the State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh, Shuman Detention Center and the Educational Opportunity Center at Penn State Greater Allegheny.
For further information on any of the “One College, One Community” events, please call 412.469.6301 or email OneCollege@ccac.edu.
The Community College of Allegheny County is the largest institution of postsecondary higher education in Pennsylvania. The college serves 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs and offers thousands of lifelong learning non-credit and workforce development courses to 35,000 students annually. Incorporating a learning-centered environment committed to the future of the region, CCAC continues to expand its reach through innovative programming and accessible instruction offered via convenient day, evening, weekend and online courses. With four campuses and six centers serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC endeavors to fulfill its mission to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society.